“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” (Economist Milton Friedman)
In these days of online banking and electronic payment, it’s not uncommon to find out to your horror that you have made a payment to someone in error, either to the wrong recipient or in an incorrect amount. If that happens to you and the recipient refuses to pay you back, what can you do about it?
The other side of the coin of course is whether the recipient of an unexplained and unexpected bank account credit can safely go ahead and spend the windfall (the answer in a nutshell is a very strong “no” – if there are indeed any free lunches in the world, this is unlikely to be one of them!).
A recent High Court judgment sets out the requirements for a claim based on “unjustified enrichment”.
A banking app duplicates payments of R861,940
What must you prove?
The requirements for an unjustified enrichment claim are –
Once the couple admitted receiving the money without a legal basis, held the Court, the onus shifted to them to prove that there was no enrichment. So their failure to prove repayment was the end of their case.
Don’t despair if the facts of your case don’t tie in fully with the above requirements – our law may have other remedies for you. Ask your lawyer for help.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)